Submitted by: Donald Clair from Waverly, New York
Yield: 6 entrees or 10 - 12 appetizers
Cover cut up chicken or pieces with water and simmer over low heat for about and hour until chicken is tender and easily removed from bones. Pour off water (now stock) and set aside. When chicken is cool, remove from bones.
While chicken is cooking, prepare vegetables and sausage.
In a heavy frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add okra and saute over medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes, until "ropiness" is gone. Fresh okre may take longer.
While okra cooks, prepare garlic, bell pepper, onion, celery, and tomatoes. Slice sausage into 1/4 inch pieces.
The next step, making the roux, requires 20 uninterrupted minutes.
Combine 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup flour in a heavy Dutch oven. Cook over medium-low heat , stirring constantly, or very frequently, until it turns a dark brown color.
To the roux, add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and saute until vegetables are tender. Allow the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, then scrape them off with a metal spoon or spatula. This allows the sugar in the onions to carmelize, rendering a great depth of flavor.
Add the sauteed okra, tomatoes, and sliced sausage. Cook 15 minutes.
Add the bay leaf, thyme, basil, cayenne peper and salt, then add the reserved chicken stock. Mix well and bring to a low boil. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours with pot loosely covered, stirring occasionally.
Add the cooked chicken and simmer another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off fat.
Just before serving, stir in file powder. Do not reboil after adding file, as this tends to make the gumbo stringy.
Serve in large bowls over steamed rice.
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